Julia Haywood Cooper was born a slave in 1858 in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Hannah Stanley and the man assumed to be her master, Dr. Fabius J. Haywood. Her mother worked to send Cooper at the age of ten to St. Augustine’s Normal School where she began studying math and science. At the age of 21, after her husband’s death, she attended Oberlin College, receiving first her BA (1884) and then her MA (1888) in mathematics. Following Oberlin, Cooper taught at what was the M Street High School (later Dunbar High School) in Washington, D.C., eventually becoming its principal. During her time in D.C., Cooper became active in the black women’s club movement, and was vocal about women’s equality and rights. This work led to the publication of "A Voice from the South: By A Woman from the South", a book considered to be one of the earliest publications on black feminism. After entering a Ph.D. program in 1911, she completed it at the age of 67 at the University of Paris (Sorbonne)—the fourth African American woman to do so. She lived to 105 years.